Joel 1:12
The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men.
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(12) The vine is dried up.—The ravages produced by the locusts and the drought are universal. There seems to be a method in the enumeration of the trees. The vine is the favourite term for the chosen people; the fig-tree has its life prolonged at the intercession of the “dresser of the vineyard,” in our Lord’s parable (Luke 13:8); the tall and stately pomegranate is of such importance as to give its name to the idol Rimmon; yea, and the palm-tree, even that is gone; the apple also, including the lemon, citron, &c.—all joy is vanished.

1:8-13 All who labour only for the meat that perishes, will, sooner or later, be ashamed of their labour. Those that place their happiness in the delights of sense, when deprived of them, or disturbed in the enjoyment, lose their joy; whereas spiritual joy then flourishes more than ever. See what perishing, uncertain things our creature-comforts are. See how we need to live in continual dependence upon God and his providence. See what ruinous work sin makes. As far as poverty occasions the decay of piety, and starves the cause of religion among a people, it is a very sore judgment. But how blessed are the awakening judgments of God, in rousing his people and calling home the heart to Christ, and his salvation!Because joy is withered away - o: "There are four sorts of joy, a joy in iniquity, a joy in vanity, a joy of charity, a joy of felicity. Of the first we read, "Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the forwardness of the wicked Proverbs 2:14. Of the second, "They take the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ" Job 21:12. Of the third, "Let the saints be joyful in glory" Psalm 149:5. Of the fourth, "Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house; they will be still praising Thee" Psalm 84:4. The joy of charity and the joy of felicity "wither from the sons of men," when the virtues aforesaid failing, there being neither knowledge of the truth nor love of virtue, no reward succeedeth, either in this life or that to come."

Having thus pictured the coming woe, he calls all to repentance and mourning, and those first, who were to call others. God Himself appointed these afflictive means, and here He "gives to the priest a model for penitence and a way of entreating mercy." : "He invites the priests first to repentance through whose negligence chiefly the practice of holiness, the strictness of discipline, the form of doctrine, the whole aspect of the Church was sunk in irreverence. Whence the people also perished, hurrying along the various haunts of sin. Whence Jeremiah says, "The kings of the earth and all the inhabitants of the world would not have believed that the adversary and the enemy should have entered into the gates of Jerusalem. For the sins of her prophets and the iniquities of her priests that have shed the blood of the just in the midst of her, they have wandered as blind men in the streets, they have polluted themselves with blood Lamentations 4:13-14.

12. pomegranate—a tree straight in the stem growing twenty feet high; the fruit is of the size of an orange, with blood-red colored pulp.

palm tree—The dates of Palestine were famous. The palm is the symbol of Judea on coins under the Roman emperor Vespasian. It often grows a hundred feet high.

apple tree—The Hebrew is generic, including the orange, lemon, and pear tree.

joy is withered away—such as is felt in the harvest and the vintage seasons (Ps 4:7; Isa 9:3).

The vine is dried up: see Joel 1:10,

The fig tree; a tree well known, and the fruit of it was usually a great advantage and benefit to the people of those countries.

The pomegranate tree; a pleasant tree, as appears Song of Solomon 4:13 7:12; and its fruit lovely, therefore fit for ornaments about the pillars of the temple. These in the common drought and by locusts have lost their beauty, and fail the hopes of him that planted them.

The palm tree; of great beauty in the height and uniformity of its growth, and that doth rise under the weight which would depress it, Psalm 92:12: with these Ezekiel’s temple was adorned, Ezekiel 40:16,22,26; with the branches of these triumphant shows were also made; but these are withered and dry.

The apple tree; the fruit whereof was very useful, and did ordinarily well recompense the care of the planter, but now, as other trees, fail them.

All the trees of the field; none so hardy and able to bear unkind seasons, but are now destroyed by the judgments of God in drought and locusts.

Are withered; not as in autumn, when the leaf falleth, but, because the root fails, is either dead or dying.

Because; or therefore, or surely, for the particle here used is oftentimes assertive, not causal.

Joy is withered away from the sons of men; all mirth and liveliness of men is blasted with this dismal blast upon their labours and hopes; they cannot rejoice who foresee they shall be, nay, are already, pinched with want and famine.

The vine is dried up,.... Withered away, stripped of its leaves and fruits, and its sap and moisture gone: or, "is ashamed" (t); to see itself in this condition, and not answer the expectation of its proprietor and dresser:

and the fig tree languisheth; sickens and dies, through the bite of the locusts:

the pomegranate tree: whose fruit is delicious, and of which wine was made: the palm tree also; which bears dates:

and the apple tree; that looks so beautiful, when either in bloom, or laden with fruit, and whose fruit is very grateful to the palate; so that both what were for common use and necessary food, and what were for delight and pleasure, were destroyed by these noisome creatures:

even all the trees of the field are withered; for locusts not only devour the leaves and fruits of trees, but hurt the trees themselves; burn them up by touching them, and cause them to wither away and die, both by the saliva and dung, which they leave upon them, as Bochart, from various authors, has proved:

because joy is withered away from the sons of men; this is not given as a reason of the above trees dried up and withered, but of the lamentation of the vinedressers and husbandmen: or else the particle is merely expletive, or may be rendered, "therefore", or "truly", or "surely" (u), "joy is withered", or "ashamed"; it blushes to appear, as it used to do at the time of harvest; but now there was no harvest, and so no joy expressed, as usually was at such times; see Isaiah 9:3.

(t) "confusa est", V. L. "pudefacta est", Cocceius; "pudet", Drusius. (u) "ideo", Grotius; "imo", Piscator; "sane", Mercer.

The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men.
12. is dried up] Better, sheweth shame, as Joel 1:10.

the pomegranate] Numbers 13:23; Numbers 20:5; Deuteronomy 8:8; 1 Samuel 14:2; Haggai 2:19; Song of Solomon 4:3; Song of Solomon 4:13; Song of Solomon 6:7; Song of Solomon 6:11; Song of Solomon 7:12; Song of Solomon 8:2. A tree abundant in Palestine, and highly prized on account of its fruit. The fruit when ripe is of a bright red colour, as large as an orange and crowned with the calyx. The name pomegranate is derived from the Latin, “grained apple,” from the bright red pips contained in the fruit. The expressed juice of the fruit makes a cooling drink, and it is also sometimes fermented into a light wine (Song of Solomon 8:2).

the palm tree] once, no doubt, with its tall, branchless stems and huge spreading leaves, the glory of most of the warmer parts of Palestine, the maritime plains, and the Jordan valley, but now comparatively rare. See Jdg 4:5; Song of Solomon 7:7-8; Psalm 92:13. Pliny (H. N. xiii. 4) says, Judaea inclyta est palmis; and Tacitus (Hist. Joel 1:6), Palmetis (Judaeis) proceritas et decor. Jericho is called the “City of palm-trees,” Deuteronomy 34:3; Jdg 1:16; Jdg 3:13; 2 Chronicles 28:15. Jericho was celebrated in antiquity for its palm-groves, the semi-tropical warmth of the Arábah—here 600 feet below the level of the sea—favouring their growth. A beautiful spring, called the ‘Ain es-Sultan, or Elisha’s Spring, gushes forth in the plain, at about a mile from the foot of the hills which lead up into the high land of Judah: this must have been near the site of the ancient city, and Josephus (B. J. iv. 8, 3) speaks with admiration of the beautiful park of palms and other rare trees, which the stream watered. Comp. Herodis palmeta pinguia, Hor. Ep. ii. 2. 184. See an interesting collection of notices respecting the palm-groves of Jericho in Schürer, Hist. of N. T. Times, § 15. Palms also flourished at Engedi, on the W. shore of the Dead Sea (Sir 24:14).

the apple tree] Song of Solomon 2:3; Song of Solomon 8:5; cf. apples Song of Solomon 2:5; Song of Solomon 7:8; Proverbs 25:11. It has been doubted whether tappûaḥ is really the apple; and Tristram (N. H. B. p. 334 f.; D. B.2 s.v.) adduces grounds tending to shew that is was more probably the apricot. But the corresponding Arabic word (tuffâḥ) certainly means the apple; and though it is true that the Syrian apple is much inferior in flavour to the European apple, it has nevertheless been long esteemed in the East as a grateful and refreshing fruit, and valued in sickness on account of its restorative properties (W. R. Smith, in the Journ. of Phil. XV. 1885, p. 65 f., with quotations from Arabic authorities; and G. E. Post, in Clark’s Bible Dictionary).

even all the trees of the field] The trees most prized for their fruits are mentioned first; but in the end all alike are included as suffering in the visitation.

are dried up] The reference might be to the hard and dried appearance of the trees produced by the ravages of the locusts; but from Joel 1:17-20 it appears that the country was at the same time suffering from a protracted drought.

yea, joy is dried up] better, with a pregnant construction, “sheweth shame (and is vanished) from the sons of men.” The joy meant is that of which, directly or indirectly, the fruits of the earth, especially the harvest and the vintage, are the occasion: cf. Psalm 4:7; Psalm 104:15; Isaiah 9:3; Isaiah 16:10.—The word rendered shew shame in Joel 1:10 and Joel 1:12 (twice) is exactly the same as that so rendered in Joel 1:11; and this is the more natural and obvious rendering of the word: it might, however, also just mean shew dryness (though elsewhere, where the same form is derived from the root to be dry, it has a causative force to make dry, and in Joel 1:12 this idea is expressed by the usual form for be dried up), and there may at least be a play upon this possible sense of the word.

Joel 1:12The whole nation is to mourn over this devastation. Joel 1:8. "Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth. Joel 1:9. The meat-offering and the drink-offering are destroyed from the house of Jehovah. The priests, the servant of Jehovah. mourn. Joel 1:10. The field is laid waste, the ground mourns: for the corn is laid waste: the new wine is spoiled, the oil decays. Joel 1:11. Turn pale, ye husbandmen; howl, ye vinedressers, over wheat and barley: for the harvest of the field is perished. Joel 1:12. The vine is spoiled, and the fig-tree faded; the pomegranate, also the palm and the apple tree: all the trees of the field are withered away; yea, joy has expired from the children of men." In Joel 1:8 Judah is addressed as the congregation of Jehovah. אלי is the imperative of the verb אלה, equivalent to the Syriac 'elā', to lament. The verb only occurs here. The lamentation of the virgin for the בּעל נעוּריה, i.e., the beloved of your youth, her bridegroom, whom she has lost by death (Isaiah 54:6), is the deepest and bitterest lamentation. With reference to חגרת־שׂק, see Delitzsch on Isaiah 3:24. The occasion of this deep lamentation, according to Joel 1:9, is the destruction of the meat-offering and drink-offering from the house of the Lord, over which the servants of Jehovah mourn. The meat and drink offerings must of necessity cease, because the corn, the new wine, and the oil are destroyed through the devastation of the field and soil. Hokhrath minchâh does not affirm that the offering of the daily morning and evening sacrifice (Exodus 29:38-42) - for it is to this that מנחה ונסך chiefly, if not exclusively, refers - has already ceased; but simply that any further offering is rendered impossible by the failure of meal, wine, and oil. Now Israel could not suffer any greater calamity than the suspension of the daily sacrifice; for this was a practical suspension of the covenant relation - a sign that God had rejected His people. Therefore, even in the last siege of Jerusalem by the Romans, the sacrificial worship was not suspended till it had been brought to the last extremity; and even then it was for the want of sacrificers, and not of the material of sacrifice (Josephus, de bell. Jud. vi. 2, 1). The reason for this anxiety was the devastation of the field and land (Joel 1:10); and this is still further explained by a reference to the devastation and destruction of the fruits of the ground, viz., the corn, i.e., the corn growing in the field, so that the next harvest would be lost, and the new wine and oil, i.e., the vines and olive-trees, so that they could bear no grapes for new wine, and no olives for oil. The verbs in Joel 1:11 are not perfects, but imperatives, as in the fifth verse. הבישׁ has the same meaning as bōsh, as in Jeremiah 2:26; Jeremiah 6:15, etc., to stand ashamed, to turn pale with shame at the disappointment of their hope, and is probably written defectively, without ו, to distinguish it from הובישׁ, the hiphil of יבשׁ, to be parched or dried up (Joel 1:10 and Joel 1:12). The hope of the husbandmen was disappointed through the destruction of the wheat and barley, the most important field crops. The vine-growers had to mourn over the destruction of the vine and the choice fruit-trees (Joel 1:12), such as the fig and pomegranate, and even the date-palm (gam-tâmâr), which has neither a fresh green rind nor tender juicy leaves, and therefore is not easily injured by the locusts so as to cause it to dry up; and tappūăch, the apple-tree, and all the trees of the field, i.e., all the rest of the trees, wither. "All trees, whether fruit-bearing or not, are consumed by the devastating locusts" (Jerome). In the concluding clause of Joel 1:12, the last and principal ground assigned for the lamentation is, that joy is taken away and withered from the children of men (hōbbı̄sh min, constr. praegn.). כּי introduces a reason here as elsewhere, though not for the clause immediately preceding, but for the הבישׁוּ and הילילוּ in Joel 1:11, the leading thought in both verses; and we may therefore express it by an emphatic yea.
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